Wear a poppy and wear it proudly!

Able Seaman Chad Shoaf of the Naval Signalman, pictured in 1994. Shoaf is now the president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Peace River.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

With Remembrance Day coming quickly, Royal Canadian Legions across the country are working tirelessly in the Poppy Campaign to ensure people remember sacrifices veterans made for our freedom.
The Poppy Campaign starts on the last Friday of October and runs until Nov. 11. Peace River Royal Candian Legion president Chad Shoaf says it’s an opportunity for people to show support for all veterans past and present. Poppy boxes are placed in various businesses, schools and community centres across the country with donations accepted for the Poppy Fund.
“Legions across the country all start on the same day and have various activities with schools and other organizations to bring awareness to history and sacrifices veterans made,” says Shoaf.
“Remembrance Day ceremonies are held in communities across Canada, and we work together to honour those who sacrificed in order to give people the freedom that we enjoy,” he adds.
Shoaf says veterans are very patriotic, so seeing people wear a poppy lets them know that their time spent in uniform is appreciated.
“Wearing the poppy is a symbol of thanks, it lets others know that the life we live today is because of the actions of brave men and women, soldier, sailors and airmen who served,” says Shoaf.
“It’s a stark reminder that the blood spilled on foreign soil was not in vain.”
He says that different uniforms may have the poppy on their beret, forge cap or Stetson, where others will have it on the left lapel. He notes that the public can wear the poppy however they would like, but as close to the heart as possible is looked upon as best location.
The Poppy Fund is a separate account at each legion. Money raised during the campaign is only used to help veterans in and around the community get better or to help improve their quality of life. Shoaf says there are very strict guidelines legions adhere to, ensuring funds are used for their intended purpose.
“During the Poppy Campaign we typically raise about 90 per cent of our poppy funds for the year,” he says. “We have a small window of time where people donate, and those funds need to last for the whole year. Having enough in the fund to afford things like mobility aids, counselling, suicide prevention, therapy dogs, and other things is important.”
Shoaf says there are many veterans in the Peace Country, some of whom have served in places like Cyprus, Korea, Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Congo, the Gulf War, and Syria.
“We can never really estimate how much help will be needed so we do our best to collect as much generosity from the public as possible,” he notes.
“Some people think that there aren’t very many veterans left, in fact we have quite a few in and around the Peace Country. Some veterans are old, but a lot of them are under 50 and sometimes they need help.”
Shoaf says people can help by donating whatever they can afford to contribute.
“Every nickel is important and appreciated,” says Shoaf. “When you donate, please take a poppy and wear it proudly. Teachers, community leaders, and parents are encouraged to open discussions as well as books and photo albums to learn about family members, local veterans, Canada’s role in different campaigns and theatres of war.”
Shoaf urges everyone to find out where local Remembrance Day ceremonies are being held and participate if they can.
“I look forward to seeing everyone with a poppy.”

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